Social Media Tools in Open Innovation Efforts

Companies have begun using social media tools in order to further build their networks and engage with their innovation stakeholders. This creates what we can call touch points – situations in which a person or company interact with their current and/or future stakeholders.

Here are a few touch point examples:

  • GE has an app for their Ecomagination challenge, which gives them an additional touch point that interacts nicely with their website for the challenge.
  • Chris Thoen (@cthoen) is an active twitter on P&G’s open innovation efforts and others things related to innovation. This can help Thoen and P&G build an innovation leadership position as the innovation community appreciates efforts to distribute knowledge and insights.

However, Twitter is just one touch point in order to reach such a position. Other touch points could include a blog or a LinkedIn group focused on P&G’s corporate innovation capabilities.

  • Whirlpool recently launched such a group on LinkedIn.
  • Through their Intuit Collaboratory website, Intuit – among other things – announces events in which they interact physically which startups. At their latest event in August, we saw lots of tweets and although they did not deliver much learning, it was still nice to see how they have begun using Twitter.
  • Psion experiments with Twitter Chats in which they share insights on their open innovation efforts.

Psion’s next chat brings in three of their executives who will share their views and approaches on open innovation. It happens on September 2nd at 9am EST. As 15inno helps them on this, we are using #15inno to track the tweets.

I like how companies have begun to incorporate social media tools in their open innovation efforts and look forward to sharing their lots of challenges and successes as they do this.

It would be great to get the community involved in this and some starting questions to you could be:

  • What social media tools are companies using? What works? What does not work? Why?
  • What are the key elements a company should consider before they embrace social media tools?
  • What can a company gain by embracing social media tools in their open innovation efforts?

Can you add other questions? Can you share some examples that address the questions?

I look forward to hearing from you.

  • Zulfiqar Deo

    I think one of the biggest problems is to use conventional thinking when trying to use social media for innovation. For example, you mentioned having a Linked In group. Having a Linked In group focused around a group will only attract other members of the group and discourage others who may be willing to participate from adding value. Customers may not see themselves as part of the group. Therefore limiting the potential of social media.

    If we looked at social media as an open systems where general groups are used to generate knowledge and participate in open discussion this helps companies to understand and benefit from opinions and directions they would otherwise not come across. This helps the group as a whole and allows the company to gain from their staff, customers and other potential stakeholders from the intellectual challenge they may not be able to provide inhouse.

    Look forward to your comments.